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Max Sisulu: MPs should be trained on how Parliament works

Max Sisulu was responding to questions on walkouts and interruptions in Parliament.

Former Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu.

JOHANNESBURG - Former speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu has weighed in on the latest developments in the house, saying new members of Parliament (MPs) should be trained so they can understand how the the National Assembly works.

Sisulu was responding to questions about the a string of motions of no confidence, walkouts, interruptions and police officers being called in to control MPs.

He stopped short of responding to how Speaker Baleka Mbethe has been managing issues in Parliament, following criticism of her actions by opposition parties.

The parties argue she cannot preside over the National Assembly and hold the position of African National Congress (ANC) chairperson.

Last week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and United Democratic Movement (UDM) reacted angrily after Mbete suggested that the police's report on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla upgrades be edited for security reasons.

Sisulu says Parliament as an institution must be protected.

"Making sure that we work together, when we are in parliament we are not there just as oppositions but we are there as Members of Parliament."

He says the National Assembly is not an island, but it must give inspiration to other neighbouring countries.

SANITISED NKANDLA REPORT

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa on Sunday raised concerns over an apparent move to censor sensitive information contained in Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko's report on the Nkandla matter.

The City Press reported that Mbete apparently wants a 'sanitised' version of Nhleko's report to be presented to Parliament.

Nhleko earlier this month revealed the report has been finalised and is ready to be tabled in Parliament.

But Mbete allegedly wants opposition MPs to first be briefed on the findings behind closed doors.

Holomisa says he has written to Mbete raising his concerns.

"The UDM wouldn't like to be compromised by Mbete's blind loyalty to President Jacob Zuma so if they want to solve this problem, let that ANC study group (Nkandla committee) solve the problem without us."

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, found that the president and his family unduly benefitted from the R246 million upgrades to his home in KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela recommended that Zuma pay back a portion of the money spent on the upgrades.

WALKOUTS AND POLICE OFFICERS IN PARLIAMENT

Last month police dressed in plain clothes dragged Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs out of the National Assembly chamber for interrupting Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

EFF MPs repeatedly asked Zuma when he intended on repaying money spent on upgrading Nkandla.

The DA's James Selfe said, "What they cannot do is that they cannot come into the Parliamentary precinct to remove members who are exercising their freedom of speech and action in terms of section 58 or 71 of the Constitution."

The DA argued in court that section 11 of the Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act was constitutionally flawed.

The party said it violated privileges MPs had against arrest.

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